'Affluenza' Teen May Have Fled U.S. After Arrest Warrant Issued

By McCarton Ackerman 12/17/15

Ethan Couch may finally see what "big boy jail" is really like.

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Ethan Couch, the infamous "affluenza” teen who fled the scene of a 2013 drunk driving crash that killed four people, may now have fled the country.

Texas authorities expressed concern that the 18-year-old may be out of the United States after a warrant was issued for his arrest earlier this week. Couch reportedly missed a meeting with his probation officer earlier this month and authorities were unable to reach either him or his mother for several days.

"With the wealth and the wherewithal that his family has, it's going to be a tough assignment for us to find him," said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson. "He’s ruined a lot of lives. We're determined to make sure he's fully accountable within the boundaries that are set in the case. He needs to be brought back."

Judge Jean Boyd sentenced Couch in December 2013 to 10 years of probation and mandatory rehab, allowing the then 16-year old to dodge a possible 20-year jail sentence. But she warned that he faced up to 10 years in prison for violating any of the terms of his probation. The law enforcement officials who handled him with kid gloves two years ago have no intention of repeating that now that he’s an adult.

"Any mess-ups from now on, he's going to be over with us," said Terry Grisham, the spokesman for the Tarrant County sheriff's office. "He's going to see what the big-boy jail is like."

Authorities are also still determining if Couch also violated his probation based on the contents of a video released to Twitter earlier this month. The video show a man who appears to be Couch in the room where a beer pong game was taking place. He laughs as one of the other men in the video leaps onto a table filled with beer cups.

However, several attorneys have indicated it would be tough to prove Couch violated his probation based on the video alone because he isn’t drinking and simply being at the scene wouldn’t constitute a violation.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.